‘Tis the first day of March, and for a change, the sun is actually shining today. It feels truly spring-like. There’s a series of books (“Earth’s Children“) written by Jean M Auel, set in the last ice-age, a time when both Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal people co-exist. The Heroine of the novels is Ayla, a beautiful young Cro-Magnon woman. During the 3rd book, “The Mammoth Hunters“, she’s staying with a group of .. well.. Mammoth Hunters over the harsh winter period. One day, she notes that its no longer as cold, and she says so to the wise, religious man of the tribe, Mamut:
“Did you say it is not as cold out, Ayla?” Mamut asked. It took a moment for the question to find its way through the maze of other pressing thoughts that worried her.
“What? Oh…yes. I think so. It doesn’t really feel warmer, it just doesn’t seem as cold.”
“I was wondering when She would break the back of winter,” Mamut said. “I thought it should be getting close.”
“Break the back? I do not understand.”
“It’s just a saying, Ayla. Sit down, I’ll tell you a winter story about the Great Bountiful Earth Mother who created all that lives,” the old man said, smiling. Ayla sat beside him on a mat near the fire. “In a great struggle, the Earth Mother took a life force from Chaos, which is a cold and unmoving emptiness, like death, and from it She created life and warmth, but She must always fight for the life She created. When the cold season is coming on, we know the struggle has begun between the Bountiful Earth Mother who wants to bring forth warm life, and cold death of Chaos, but first She must care for Her children.” Ayla was warming to the story, now, and smiled encouragingly.
“What does She do to care for Her children?”
“Some She puts to sleep, some She dresses warmly to resist the cold, some She bids gather food and hide. As it gets colder and colder, death seems to be winning, the Mother is pushed back farther and farther. In the depths of the cold season, when the Mother is locked in the battle of life and death, nothing moves, nothing changes, everything seems to be dead. For us, without a warm place to live and the food that is stored, death would win in winter; sometimes, if the battle goes on longer than usual, it does. No one goes out much, then. People make things, or tell stories, or talk, but they don’t move around much and they sleep more. That’s why winter is called the little death. Finally, when the cold has pushed Her down as far as She will go, She resists. She pushes and pushes until She breaks the back of winter. It means spring will return but it is not spring, yet. She has had a long fight, and She must rest before She can bring forth life again. But you know She has won. You can smell it, you can feel it in the air.”
“I did! I did feel it, Mamut! That’s why I had to take the horses for a run. The Mother broke the back of winter!” Ayla exclaimed. The story seemed to explain exactly how she felt.
“I think it’s time for a celebration, don’t you?”
“Oh, yes. I think so!”
That’s how it feels today. Like the Mother broke the back of winter. I’m itching to get out into the garden, to plant something, anything, just to celebrate, in my own way, the return of spring. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any cold days yet, because there will, certainly wintry days. Thoughts turn, though, to gardens, to planting – and in those who don’t have that interest, to other outdoor pursuits. There’s restlessness, antsiness, a build up of energy that needs to be gotten rid of, to be slaked.
Its the first day of March, and like the beginning of every month for the last few months, that means a new header. This particular photo was taken not very far from here, on the path where i walk Jess regularly. I initially thought they were bluebells, but i’m not so sure any more – i think they may be crocuses, a blue/purply variant. They’re gorgeous either way, i’ll be posting a proper full picture of it at some point, probably in however i do decide to continue to the photo-a-day (if you haven’t voted yet on that, do go do so!).
So what lies ahead for the month of March, for me?
Well, my parents are retiring this month. I know they’re excited and looking forward to being able to chase their own pursuits. I am too, as many of the things they want to do are things i love doing too – like gardening, making bread, cooking frugally and so on, so i’m looking forward to sharing those things with them in more detail – i’ve just sent dad a whole box full of seeds, for example, for him to try out in his little garden. Retirement presents and gifts are also being planned, although i can’t say what they are as Mum reads here, so you’ll have to wait till after they’ve had them to see photos.
Of course, March being the first month of spring, it is a busy time in the garden. digging beds, sowing seeds, and generally preparing it for spring proper, its an exciting time. Look for more entries on garden work – and corresponding photographs!
I’m determined too to continue my new-found love of photography. Part of this will involve heading out to explore new places. I have a travel pass that allows me free travel after 9.30am within the area where i live – I’d be silly not to use it, especially when so much is free to view. I’m especially keen to visit gardens and parks, but also museums, although they’re a bit stricter on photography on the premises, often. Then there’s people watching – I’d love, one day, a fine day to simply go and sit in a city centre square and watch people walking by, snapping the occasional shot with my camera. This is distinctly dodgier though, as people can (understandably) get funny about some stranger snapping their photograph, so i’m not sure about this. I also want to explore architectural photography, those decorative details that are often built into buildings – especially old buildings – that people often don’t notice, simply because they’re above their heads. And finally, i want to explore macro photography some more, whether outside – flowers n the like – or inside, still life shots…. Its all new and exciting to me at the moment.
I’ve other hobbies too, there’s the cardmaking – I’m working on producing a stock of blank cards for the occasions where you can’t predict that you’ll need a card (i.e. funerals or simply a “thinking of you” card), as well as making cards for people for the next year, covering birthdays n anniversaries and the like. If i can do this then i can put my cardmaking materials away, and focus after that on another hobby: maybe sewing or something else. Part of the problem with regard to hobbies is that there is only enough room to focus on one hobby at a time, outside of the photography/garden ones, as i only have a small worktable, and most of my other hobbies take up space. I can’t work on both cardmaking and machine-sewing at once, for example.
And then there’s the blog. I love updating this – I’ve adored doing the photo-a-day. having that focus for the month of february, walking around, mindfully (as Rhonda Jean would say), I’ve rediscovered my love of blogging, and i think this has shown in the numbers. There are 28 “photo-a-day” entries, but 53 entries in February – almost two entries every day. I’m not sure i’ll keep up quite that rate of publishing, especially if i don’t continue the photo-a-day in its current format, but either stop it completely or go towards the calender idea, but i do want to keep blogging, so that’s an important thing for me too.
So… we’ll see where things are in just under four and a half week’s time, shall we? It’ll be just before Easter, spring will definitely be here and i think some things will be very different!